Specially considering that they are pronounced similar if not the same.

I know "nigga" is also considered offensive by a lot of people but I think on general terms, you're likely to offend more saying "nigger" rather than "nigga".

Why is this?

  • 7
    If they are pronounced the same, I am very curious how exactly I should go about determining which of the two you are saying at me.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 20:57
  • If you are asking why one is more offensive than the other, than the Q is probably POB. Depends on who you ask... Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 21:21
  • 4
    From the mouth of a non-black person, they're both offensive. Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


The thing that needs to be understood is that, from an "official etymology" standpoint, "nigga" did not come from the offensive term "nigger", but rather is (it was claimed) simply a more "casual" and "countrified" version of "negro" (which was at one time considered entirely non-offensive).

This was a topic of some discussion and controversy back in the 60s, IIRC, as prominent white Southern politicians would regularly use a word similar to "nigra" when speaking to the public and the press. And, if challenged, they would claim that they were saying "negro", just in their dialect. (Inside the mayor's chambers, of course, they said "nigga", if not actually "nigger".) While white politicians learned other terms, the term "nigra"/"nigga" was adopted by black people, at least partially in mocking imitation of white politicians.

Of course, to what extant any of this is actually true is lost in the cultural history of the South, too jumbled by conflicting prejudices to ever sort out.

  • Ah, yes, the prejudices are still there.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 21:49
  • Yes, even the reference I posted has been attacked, as if it was a personal issue. You, as a native American, can probably understand this attitude better than do.
    – user 66974
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 7:39

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